I used to think that life moved exclusively in a linear path. I assumed that everyone graduated college, got married, got their dream job, and then just sort of started their life from there. I lived my life believing that any deviation from this linear path, specifically in the lack of achievement of a dream job right away, was considered a failure. I'm a planner, so early on I remember planning out what the next 15 years of my life would look like if I were to head down the path of success and do things "right". I've quickly come to realize that this linear path does not hold the key to success. I've also come to know that most people aren't thinking 15 years into the future and by dwelling on that, I am missing out on taking in a lot of the here and now.
As soon as Josiah and I got married I jumped in head first into photography full-time, but aside from the fact that I was just starting out in my business (which is certainly hard enough!) we made two cross-country moves which made the thought of ever building a strong clientele seem impossible. That, in combination with mine and Josiah's forever wanderlust souls made me begin to doubt whether this would actually fit into my 15 year plan. I doubted if this was the road to success for me.
To give us a little more security during that time of doubt I divided my time between photography, my passion, and a day-job that quickly became something I dreaded. I put my head down and did the work in both worlds and waited until I could figure things out. The uncertainty of whether photography would be my forever career forced me to hold on to my day job for longer than I wished I would have and the resolution to "figuring it out" never came." But after many, many long talks and what seemed like long-term solutions, I decided to stop thinking about a forever career and to just start focusing on the next step.
Well the next step has presented itself. It's become increasingly difficult to maintain both my photography business and my day job and I know that although who knows what the next 15 years will look like, this is what I'm going to do for the here and now. As my business has grown Josiah and I have begun to put roots down in the Windy City and I am finally ready to let go of that day job. So the next step involves likely a lot more sleepless nights and a lot more hours behind a screen, but it also for sure includes a lot more cups of coffee and lot more episodes of The Office. So here's to planning less, taking one step at a time, and jumping in head first to something that equal parts fuels you and equal parts terrifies you.
The only 15 year plan I'm making now is to enjoy these these fudgy brownies anytime and anywhere. This recipe is from The First Mess cookbook and it's not only insanely delicious, but it's packed full of nutrient dense nuts and seeds to keep you full and happy.
Fudgy Nut + Seed Brownies from The First Mess Cookbook
- 3/4 cup of smooth almond butter
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 3/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of 70% dark (dairy-free) chocolate, broken up into chunks
- 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons of coconut flour
- 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
- 3 tablespoons of nuts or seeds (I used a mixture of almonds, and added some coconut flakes)
Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8x8" square baking pan and set aside.
Place a medium saucepan over very low heat and add the nut butter, maple syrup, apple sauce, and vanilla and stir until the nut butter is melted and the ingredients are combined. Then add the chocolate chunks and cocoa powder and stir continuously until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt until everything is combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the nuts, seeds, and toppings that you like on top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the brownies are firm, and lightly cracked on top. Cool the brownies completely in the pan, and then transfer them to a wire rack by gently lifting the sides of the parchment paper to release. Cover and place the brownies in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This is crucial in order for the brownies to set, and hold together while cutting.